CONTRIBUTED BY STACEY PETERS
The Biggest Mall in the World
This weekend I took my husband to the last place any self-respecting husband who already occupies less than an amicable share of the closet and an eye on the back account’s bottom line ever wants to go with his wife. I took him to the mall. But not just any mall. We went to the biggest mall in the whole world. Why not? Who doesn’t want to say they’ve been to the largest mall IN THE WORLD? It is the proverbial “destination within a destination”.
The biggest mall in the world is located in Busan Korea
Shinsegae Centumcity is located in downtown Busan, Korea, a port city and the second largest city in Korea. The mall covers more than 3.16 M Square Feet of retail space. It has been in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest retail space since its construction in 2009.
If you’re thinking that Minnesota’s Mall of the Americas is bigger, you are correct. It is. However, the ranking at Guinness is based on the retail space and not the overall square footage. Opened in 1992, the mall receives over 40 million visitors annually, more than any other mall in the world. The MOA is located on the site of the former Metropolitan Stadium, where the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins played until the Metrodome was built in 1982 with 3.77 M Sq. Feet (4.2 M Sq. Feet overall).
Do you think this is an appropriate distinction to make? Don’t the facilities like spas, movie theaters and food costs add to the overall mall experience?
The moment you walk into the mall from its own stop on the Metro, everything is grand – from the marble floors to the replica of the Trevi Fountain at the entrance at Centum City Station (Subway Line 2). You walk out of the station into this cavernous space decorated with white on white marble and stone.
Walk past the fountain into double revolving doors into yet another empty space and an escalator that finally takes you into the mall.
Food Court & Restaurants
It’s hard to believe that this place can become hard to navigate, there is so much open space. But on any given day – especially the weekends and holidays – I’m told even supersized malls like Shinsegae are standing room only.
Thankfully today is not one of those days. There is a basic layout for malls here in Korea. The first floor you enter from the Metro is usually the basement. Shinsegae is no different. We rode the escalator up to the B1 level to check out the food court for one reason and one reason only– we were starving. And, neither one of us would enjoy walking through the world’s largest mall on an empty stomach.
There was plenty to choose from, but we decided to check out the 9th floor restaurants before deciding. We got off the elevator and were perplexed. Sure there were signs on the walls, but we couldn’t read them. All we saw was something called Zooraji. Zooraji turned out to be a dinosaur park on the rooftop 9th floor where you can enjoy a great view of Busan and the iconic Gwangandaegyo Bridge.
It was cold outside, so I took a few pictures and retreated to the other side where the restaurants were located. There are 10 restaurants on this level. One of the more interesting is the restaurant that specializes in the Asian delicacy of blow fish. We skipped that one because, well we just aren’t that adventurous. Blow fish also known as puffer fish have a deadly toxin in their organs that if disturbed or punctured can result in death. We opted for the Macaroni Grill, a much tamer option of East meets West and a light lunch of Korean Beef and a sizzling hot pot of chicken and vegetables.
Fun for Non-Shoppers Too
After lunch we attacked the mall floor by floor. And there is a lot to see at Shinsegae. There is a multiplex movie theater, large bookstore that sells English language books. I just wish they would put all their book in plastic wrap. The plastic makes it hard to read them, lol. There is an ice rink, a huge musical fountain, a kids cafe and play area, spa with thermal baths and a restaurant called Cine de Chef where you can enjoy a meal and watch a movie while lying in a posturepedic bed. There is a three story driving range on top for anyone interested in golf.
Like most malls all around the world, there’s shopping in Shinsegae too. And most of it is high-end. Jimmy Coo, Givenchy, Bulgari, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Dior Homme, Gucci, and Dior are just a few of the top designers with retail space in Shinsegae. There is an H&M Store for the more budget minded shoppers– aka my people.
It’s a beautiful mall and everyone tried to be helpful– that darn language barrier persists even in this bastion of commercialism. And I still wonder whether the distinction between retail versus overall square footage should be made as a condition to receive the moniker as the “world’s biggest mall”.
Is this someplace you’d like to shop or not?
B2F: Amenities / Parking
B1F: Foods / Living World
1F: Luxury Brands/ Cosmetics / Accessories
2F: Luxury Boutique
3F: Women’s Suits / Sports Wear / Women’s Shoes
4F: Women’s Casual Wear / Jeans
5F: Men’s Wear
6F: Golf / Kids / Lingerie
7F: Home Collections
8F: Fashion Street
9F: Restaurants / Culture Hall / Sky Park / Customer Service Center
Shinsegae Department Store, Busan
Regular operating hours 10:30~20:00
Extended operating hours 10:30~21:00
Restaurant operating hours 11:00~21:30 (Last order 21:00).
The mall is closed
(Lunar New Year’s Day) & Chuseok
(Korean Thanksgiving Day).
There are 2772 parking spaces on B1F-B4F. Parking is free for the first 30 minutes and KRW 500 every 10 minutes thereafter.
Payment: Always bring Won! Each store will vary in whether it accepts won, credit cards, or US $
Duty free tax incentives are available for purchases of KRW 30,000 or more to Korean Nationals living abroad for the last two years, residing in South Korean for less than 3 months as well as foreigners staying in the country for less than 6 months. Tax-free status is available for up to 3 months after travel with receipts. Click here
for more information.
Address: 35, Senteomnam-daero, Haeun Daegu, Busan just off Line two at Centum City.
GPS Coordinates: 35.1795543, 129.07564160000004
It’s only 37 minutes from Daegu by train and 20 minutes by Metro from the Busan Station. Take #1 towards Nopo to Seomyeon, transfer to #2 towards Hyundae and get off at Centumcity. Download the Korean Metro app
for Android here
and download the Subway Korea app in the Apple Store.